Pearle Arnold Capwell (1885-1982), Pioneer Nurse


  • Sheila M. Pickwell PhD, CFNP

    Corresponding author
    1. Sheila M. Pickwell, PhD, CFNP, Gamma Tau, Clinical Professor, Director, Division of Graduate Nursing Education, School of Medicine, University of California, San Diego.
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Dr. Pickwell, Division of Graduate Nursing Education, 9500 Gilman Drive, 0809, La Jolla, CA 92093. E-mail:


Nurse leaders who shaped our profession and those who continue to do so are well remembered and their histories are well documented. But there are uncelebrated nurses, who have contributed to the remarkable advances of nursing in the United States. They are the unsung heroines who made their mark as mothers, sisters, wives, citizens, and—not so incidentally—as nurses. Rarely did they write their memoirs and as a result there is little in the way of a record of “ordinary nurses providing daily nursing care” to the sick and injured many decades ago. We rarely have an opportunity to hear from those pioneers from early in the 20th century.